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City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County’s 13th Annual Holiday Drive Supports Local Homeless Shelters

December 18, 2020

MILWAUKEE—The City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County’s 13th Annual Holiday Drive concluded on December 16 after three weeks of collection. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, items were not collected at drop boxes this year. Instead, the public made their donations fully online through two Amazon Wish Lists and the Holiday Drive GoFundMe page.

This year’s Drive spread holiday cheer to Milwaukee-area individuals and families seeking housing and support services at both Hope House of Milwaukee and The Guest House of Milwaukee

Hundreds of household necessities, essential clothing items, children's activities, books, bedding, linens, cookware and window insulation kits were donated by the community through the Amazon Wish Lists and through personal donations. The community also provided monetary donations totaling over $5,000. The Holiday Drive GoFundMe page campaign goal of $2,000 was more than doubled.

“This year, we were amazed by the community’s generosity in supporting our 13th Annual Holiday Drive,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “Because we had to conduct the drive entirely virtually, we were unsure if we would see the same levels of participation that we have come to expect. This certainly wasn’t the case. Milwaukeeans went above and beyond in helping to make the holiday season a little brighter for the individuals and families at both the Hope House and Guest House of Milwaukee.”

“I’m happy that despite all the challenges of this year, we can continue the holiday tradition of partnering with the City of Milwaukee to give back to residents in need,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “The Annual Holiday Drive is a reminder of the generosity of Milwaukee County residents, but also the struggle many of our neighbors face even after the holidays pass us by. Our commitment to creating a healthy, thriving community does not end with the holiday season. I know the Milwaukee County community will continue to support one another as we weather this public health crisis together.” 

The City of Milwaukee surprised Hope House of Milwaukee and The Guest House of Milwaukee with $10,000 worth of items on their wish lists. These items included: nonperishable food items, personal hygiene and safety products, cleaning supplies, essential clothing items, bedding, linens, cookware, infant necessities, air mattresses, window insulation kits, appliances and personal protective equipment. The community’s financial donations Brewer’s Community Foundation provided financial support in supplying these items.

“Congratulations to all that have and will participate in this wonderful event,” said Cecilia Gore, Executive Director of the Brewers Community Foundation. “Brewers Community Foundation and Milwaukee Brewers care deeply about the community and we are thrilled to play a role in making the holidays a little better for those that are in need.”

"For nearly 40 years, Guest House of Milwaukee has been working to develop and deliver innovative solutions to support Milwaukee's homeless and housing insecure. The generosity of our community this year has, again, proven critical to our success and our ability to meet the needs of our clients,” said Cindy Krahenbuhl, Executive Director of the Guest House of Milwaukee. “We're grateful not only for the donation of items but also for the opportunity to raise awareness to the critical and complex needs of so many that are often overlooked. Thank you to Mayor Barrett and County Executive Crowley for your partnership and advocacy and to all those working to end homelessness in Milwaukee.”

"The outpouring of generosity has been completely humbling and totally overwhelming. Thank you for making the holidays special for the homeless families we serve and the families in our Rapid Re-housing program,” said Jim Farrell, Development Director of Hope House of Milwaukee.

Since 2007, the City of Milwaukee has held an Annual Holiday Drive. City of Milwaukee employees, community partners, businesses and residents have risen to the challenge and collected thousands of toiletries, snacks, goodies and more to help bring a little holiday cheer to those in need during the holiday season.



Hope House is a non-profit emergency homeless shelter, rapid rehousing facility and true community center located in the near South side of Milwaukee. Since 1987, Hope House has provided a safe, temporary refuge for people needing a place to sleep. Over the years, Hope House has evolved into a complete provider of services for homeless and low-income individuals.

Hope House of Milwaukee has combined its two most successful housing programs to meet the needs of homeless families and work toward its goal of ending homelessness. One of these programs is the Family Bonds Housing Program, which helps immediately move families from off the streets and into shelter while working to place them in an apartment of their own. Up to ten families are housed at the shelter at one time, and Hope House has subsidized the rent of hundreds of families in the City of Milwaukee.

The other program is Surgeon’s Quarters Single Room Occupancy, a joint project with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Friends of Housing. The project consists of 13 bedrooms and provides permanent housing and case management



The Guest House of Milwaukee is the largest publicly funded homeless shelter in the city and has been leading the community in ending the cycle of poverty in clients' lives for nearly 40 years.

The Guest House of Milwaukee provides shelter to 86 men experiencing homelessness each night of the year. These men are veterans, emergency shelter guests and participants of the intensive recovery program who are working through issues with substance abuse or mental health. The Guest House initially works to address guests’ basic needs, then matches them to a qualified case manager to develop a plan for independence. 

The Guest House also provides a Prevention, Rapid Re-Housing, and Permanent Supported Housing program that helps more than 450 men, women and families secure permanent, affordable places to live. The Guest House Counseling Clinic offers quality outpatient mental health and substance abuse counseling services to clients and the community at large.



The following companies and organizations generously donated to the 13th Annual Holiday Drive.

Anodyne Coffee 10 pounds of coffee
Bay View Fit $100 donation
Clean Rite Assorted in-kind items
Culvers 10 value basket coupons
El Rey $1,000 monetary donation
Goodwill $400 worth of store vouchers
Home Depot $50 in-kind donation
Lowlands Group $50 gift card
Meijer $1,000 in gift cards
Milwaukee County Parks Golf pass package
Milwaukee Kickers Soccer Club Soccer balls and other in-kind items
Outpost Natural Foods $200 monetary donation
Palermo's Pizza 240 frozen pizzas
Pete's Fruit Market $100 in gift cards
Purple Door Ice Cream 15 kiddie scoops of ice cream
QDOBA Mexican Eats 5 meals
Target $200 in gift cards
The Brewers Community Foundation $5,000 monetary donation
Walmart $100 in gift cards
Wings Over Milwaukee $50 in gift cards
Zoological Society of Milwaukee 2 plush toy jaguars and 2 yearlong memberships to the Kids Conservation Club
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